Primary care patient experience survey update: 18 December 2015

21 Dec 2015 | Health Quality Intelligence

The Health Quality & Safety Commission and the Ministry of Health (MOH) are proposing to introduce patient experience measures for primary care, using online patient surveys.

The patient experience survey (PES) is being developed by the Commission to find out what patients’ experience in primary care is like and how their overall care is managed between their general practice, diagnostic services, specialists and/or hospital staff.

A governance group was established in October (in lieu of the Integrated Performance and Incentive Framework (IPIF) governance structure) to act as the decision-making body for the implementation of PES and the information it collects. The members are:

  • Fiona Thomson (Chair)
  • Martin Hefford
  • David Jansen
  • Tae Richardson
  • Matt Tong
  • Shelley Frost
  • Richard Hamblin
  • Andy Inder.

A consumer representative will join the group in the New Year. The governance group will report to both the Primary Health Organisation agreement amendment protocol group and MOH until IPIF governance is re-established.

The survey pilot was completed with 16 general practices across the country from Procare Networks, National Hauora Coalition, Whanganui Regional Health Network, Compass Health and Pegasus Health.

Results from almost 1300 patient responses have been analysed and tell us a number of things. Email invitations have the best response rate at 31 percent vs SMS at 8 percent and almost 70 percent of people that start the survey complete it.

Chart showing results of the primary care patient experience survey pilot.

Women and middle ages are more likely to respond, Asian and European patients are over represented, Māori are slightly under represented and Pacific patients are significantly under represented.

During the pilot we tested in situ surveys (patients completing the survey on a tablet while at the practice). This method appears to address under representation of Māori and Pacific patients’ feedback. More piloting of this method is needed, which can be done alongside the first survey.

The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners has confirmed that the use of PES will be recognised as a source of evidence towards meeting Indicator 9 of the Foundation Standard and Aiming for Excellence: The practice includes patients’ input into service planning. For quality improvement processes, the use of this tool will need to be accompanied by a quality improvement activity undertaken on the basis of the survey results.

The first online survey across a wider group of practices begins in February 2016 with the five pilot PHOs. The PHOs and their contracted practices will determine their implementation pace, with ready and willing practices able to begin the survey in February 2016. Eligible patients seen by participating practices from 10–16 February 2016 will be sent a survey via email or SMS on 24 February 2016.

Other PHOs can begin using the survey from May 2016. A staged implementation is needed until the national enrolment system (NES) is rolled out and adequate levels of patient preference details have been captured. Once the NES rollout is complete, all practices and PHOs will be expected to adopt the PES as part of the PHO Services Agreement.

If not already doing so, we encourage practices to start routinely asking for patients’ email contact information.

Last updated 21/12/2015